Visitors to our home in Campanario, Madeira, Portugal…A procession on the Day of Ascension that was enchanting and memorable…

The procession of all ages gleefully made their way into our house to sing in celebration of the Day of Ascension.
After making a delicious Sunday roast beef dinner with multiple side dishes, we decided to eat and clean up before our visitors would arrived. Unsure as to when they’d arrived, we were done with dinner and out of the kitchen by 7:30 pm.
We couldn’t have enjoyed their visit more, waving and expressing our gratitude as they made their way down the steep road to the next houses.

Gina had alerted us that as an annual local tradition, a procession of children and adults of all ages would be stopping to sing for us wearing their festive traditional attire, tossing candy and rose petals onto the floor at our feet.

The procession began at this local Catholic church in Campanario.

We hesitated to settle in after dinner wondering when and if they’d arrive. Throughout the day, we heard the loudspeakers in the valley blaring the church services. On many occasions we stepped out onto the veranda listening for a procession, wondering when they’d arrive.

Without hesitation, they barged their way into our house to which we couldn’t wipe the smiles off of our faces.

Early in the morning, we rushed through our weekly grocery shopping fearful that we’d miss something back at home. Alas, they didn’t appear until after we’d cleaned up from dinner. We’d timed it perfectly.

It was obvious they’d practiced their songs as they harmonized with expertise.

We never heard a thing until the loud pounding on the door at 7:45 pm. Startled, we both jumped up, opening the door to the good-sized group of locals cheering, laughing, and pushing their way into the house. 

The young accordion player was quite skilled.

It was a good thing Gina had given us a “heads up.” It would have been weird to open the door to strangers, dressed in colorful clothes pushing their way inside the house without giving it a thought!

In one fell swoop, they were out the door and on the way to their next house.

Of course, we welcomed them with open arms as they immediately formed a semi-circle and began singing while a handsome young man, perhaps 11 or 12 years old, began competently playing the accordion. 

They left rose petals and wrapped candies on the floor. Of course, Tom ate the candy as  I swept the floor.

Camera in hand, I began taking a video. Flustered and excited, I totally messed up the first video which I later deleted. Luckily, I got two decent videos as shown here today, one inside the house, the other as they began the steep trek down the road to the next houses.

They made their way down the steep road near our house to the next house around the sharp turn.

We couldn’t stop smiling, even after they’d all left, as we ran to the veranda to watch them make their way down the road to the next house. Apparently, all of the locals expect their visit and stay home, cash in hand, to welcome them for this annual tradition.

As they approached the house around the sharp turn in the road.

It’s these types of cultural experiences that we love, the warmth, the laughter, and the traditions well embedded into a culture for many generations.

The Catholic church in Ribeira Brava.

To further enjoy local traditions early his morning we drove up a very narrow, steep road to the bakery at the top of a mountain that Gina had pointed out to us one day when she’d visited. It was one of those situations where you could see it but, how in the world would we get up there?

The interior of the church in Ribeira Brava.

Leave it to Tom and his competent driving and navigation skills, after only a few corrections, we made our way to the top finding the bakery inside of a bar. The baker, a hard-working local woman, starts baking in the middle of the night to serve bread and pastries to her local patrons.

The alter of the church in Ribeira Brava.

Tom purchased two items each stuffed with cream. They appeared to be some type of doughnut. Eating one when we returned home, he saved the other for tomorrow saying it was good but, not as good as the filled doughnuts he used to buy unbeknown to me at the SuperAmerica on his way to work in our old life.

The confessional at the church in Ribeira Brava. 

As it turns out, baked goods outside the US tend not to be as sweet making them less appealing to his taste buds. Ah, that my dear husband is conditioned to excess sugar and processing in his preferred snacks. 

Our Sunday dinner served well before our guests arrived. It’s wonderful to be cooking again. I didn’t realize how much we missed it until we started preparing it again. Dinner included roast beef with sautéed onions and mushrooms, grilled vegetables, steamed cauliflower for me, and green beans for Tom and, for both of us, side salads. All the produce is locally grown with flavors much stronger and more flavorful than we’re used to.

On the return drive, we stopped at the pharmacy for contact lens solution which they luckily had on hand, a tiny 100 ml bottle for US $7.09, EU $5.20, and then off to the little grocery store for a few items we hadn’t found in the supermarket yesterday.

This huge red pepper purchased from the produce truck has a stronger and more tasty flavor than we’ve experienced in the past. I cut and grilled this pepper along with chunks of carrots, onions, mushrooms, and zucchini tossed with olive oil and seasoned for a delicious side dish.

It was a good day and evening. My illness is now completely gone and I feel like a new person. The bed is made. The washing machine is washing. We have excellent leftover roast beef for dinner tonight with only a few new side dishes yet to prepare. The sun is shining. We’re as grateful and content as we could be.

Photo from one year ago today, June 2, 2013:

On this date a year ago we were busy packing to get ready to head to Italy. As a result, we have no photos from that date. Please check back tomorrow. To read the post from June 2, 2013, please click here.